Luxury property developer, GURNER™ has acquired yet another Collingwood site, its fifth in the area in two years, in a deal that will deliver the developer’s 16th building in the area and add approximately 170+ apartments and over $130m to the developer’s $2.6b portfolio which is split between Melbourne and Brisbane.
The substantial site, located at 23 – 33 Johnston Street, Collingwood, is over 1800sqm and was acquired off-market from the Martino Family for around $12m.
As part of the acquisition, Angelo Martino, through his company, MARTINO VIC, will stay on as joint venture partner, continuing the family’s long standing relationship with the site.
As part of the design GURNER™ will retain the existing building’s heritage façade and deliver a series of retail tenancies at ground level that will contribute to Johnston Street’s rapidly transforming streetscape as a dynamic retail and restaurant precinct.
No stranger to the area, GURNER™ successfully sold out two concurrent Collingwood projects, 107 Cambridge Street and 28 Stanley Street, in record time late last year, with both of them set for completion at the end of 2016.
GURNER™ founder and director, Tim Gurner said this would represent the team’s 16th building in the Collingwood and Fitzroy areas, after Gurner first identified the location as an apartment hotspot some seven years ago, when he developed Oxley Collingwood on Stanley Street.
“ In terms of locations that fit our development philosophy, Collingwood and Fitzroy are among our top suburb picks not only just in Melbourne but Australia-wide,” he said.
“ Collingwood in particular is going through an immense period of transformation; it is the unofficial café hub of Melbourne and includes some of this city’s best restaurants and bars.
“ Collingwood is just one kilometre from the CBD and is one of the most desirable suburbs in Melbourne to live in, thanks to its incredible architecture, heritage and resurgence in recent years as one of Melbourne’s cultural capitals.
“ Johnson Street in particular is experiencing some incredible changes – just five years ago this strip was an urban wasteland filled with vacant factories and industrial sites, but fast forward to today and the location is bursting with cafés, bars and designer retail shops.
“ The buildings here have remained unchanged for decades so now is the perfect opportunity to create a new luxury residential offering befitting of the area’s new standing as one of Melbourne’s most desirable locations,” he said.
Gurner said while the area had remained an apartment hot-spot for many years, the buyer demographic had changed completely.
“ Three years ago all the one bedroom apartments without car parks would get snapped up first by investors and we would find the two bedrooms and three bedrooms very hard to sell, now it’s the opposite – discerning owner occupiers are buying multiple one bedroom apartments and transforming them into a luxury three or four bedroom offering of their choice.
“ I think this points to the changing demographic of the area but also the location’s growing appeal with a slightly older generation. Whereas 10 years ago Collingwood was populated with renters and struggling artists, now families and professional couples are looking to Collingwood as the perfect location to invest in a luxury home.
“ House prices now reflect this with the median house price sitting at well over a million dollars,” he said.
“ We will look to create a luxury, high-end development that ticks all the boxes for this new discerning owner occupier buyer. We want to seek inspiration from Collingwood’s unique appeal so the interiors will use a lot of concrete and copper tones and have an industrial feel,” he said.
“ The architecture will be bold and beautiful but sympathetic to its heritage past.”
The site adjoins the State Government’s heralded Cultural Arts Precinct (CAP) program which has gifted the former Collingwood Technical School to a trust with the remit to develop the site into a vibrant, cross-disciplinary cultural precinct.
The Technical School will be the first of many sites the CAP trust will transform over the coming years, with a focus on supporting the gentrification and of the area into a hub for the Arts and cultural activities.
“ We will be working with the CAP board to ensure a great result for both their precinct and our project as it is critical the two schemes work in unison to get the best result for all,” Gurner said.
GURNER™ has recently appointed COX Architects to design the project, with the development expected to be submitted to planning in the coming months.